The Scottish dirk (also “Highland dirk”) is the symbolic traditional weapon of the Highland warriors. Historically, it gained its name from the Highland Dirk (Scots Gaelic “dearg”) where it was a personal weapon of officers engaged in naval hand-to-hand combat during the Age of Sail as well as the personal sidearm of Highlanders. Being also the symbolic and ceremonial weapon of the Highland warriors, the dirk made its way into the naval ceremonies in various countries in the 19th century.
Sgian dubh is a small, single-edged knife worn as part of traditional Scottish Highland dress, usually tucked into the top of the kilt hose. Dirk is a long-bladed, normally two-edged, knife worn on the belt. Due to its small size, a sgian dubh could be hidden in clothing or under an armpit, while a dirk is normally worn on the belt.
A Scottish dirk is the traditional Scottish dagger, and could be whatever size the owner wanted it to be. Historically, the dirk could be of various dimensions – from less than 6 inches to 20 or even 25 inches in length. On average, a Scottish dirk is about 12 inches long.
The dagger has a symmetrical blade with two sharp edges, while the dirk, historically, had a single sharp edge and a thicker spine. Nowadays, however, the dirk is normally two-edged and more or less synonymous with the dagger, only differing in ceremonial use (e.g. by marine officers).
You can buy a collectible dirk at the Noblie Store – a reliable vendor of collectible, naval and ceremonial dirks since 2015.
Making a custom dirk at Noblie takes several months.
The first dirks evolved in the early 17th century from the medieval ballock dagger. Sailors noticed that the dirk was a convenient weapon in close fight due to its short blade. By the 19th century, the dirk gradually evolved into a ceremonial weapon and a badge of rank.
In Scotland, the dirk became symbolic of a Highland man’s honor. The blade of the Scottish dirk was believed to be so holy as to swear oaths on it. In the USA, the dirk was introduced in the 18th century.
The ceremonial symbolism of the dirk is prevalent in many cultures all around the world: today, the military dirk is a part of ceremonial officer’s uniforms in various countries. In Britain’s Royal Navy, the naval dirk is presented to junior officers as a symbol of military honor and dignity.
The basic design of the dirk has changed little in the last five centuries. Only that the originally single-edged weapon was altered by the mid-18th century to a double-edged blade, and lots of showy adornment can be found on today’s ceremonial dirks (as compared to the simple design and a total absence of decorative elements in pristine dirks). Still, today’s dirk is pretty much the same, in terms of basic design, as the old-time dirk – the piercing thin custom dagger with a faceted (mainly rhombic section) double-edged blade.
The transformation of the functional status has brought the aesthetic and symbolic designation to the military dirk. As aristocrats, instead of a long battle sword, preferred to wear a rather short, light and handy dirk, it became more and more exquisite in terms of design, and more of a luxurious marker of status than an ordinary weapon.
A unique handmade dirk is a wonderful gift for the military as well as for the adorers of vintage souvenirs. Noblie custom dirks feature:
Each handmade dirk in our catalogue has been produced manually with the use of traditional techniques of metalwork and decoration. Our bladesmiths use high-quality materials, precious metals, gemstones and rare wood species to satisfy the most conversant collectors.
Explore Noblie selection of collectible dirks to choose a splendid gift that may bring joy to a lover of unique military souvenirs or just become the centerpiece of a showy interior.